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Steph Huang

Steph Huang

This summer, Tate Britain will stage Art Now: Steph Huang: See, See, Sea, a new exhibition by London-based Taiwanese artist Steph Huang. Exploring the cultural and environmental impact of cycles of production and commerce, Huang will use sculpture, sound, found objects and video to reflect on the conditions that shape what, how and where we eat. Named after the traditional nursery rhyme ‘A Sailor Went to Sea’, the exhibition will highlight the traces left by maritime trade in our everyday lives, prompting us to question our relationship with food consumption and the ocean ecosystem. This will be the latest in Tate Britain’s ongoing Art Now series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting the latest developments in contemporary British art.  

For her debut presentation at Tate Britain, Huang will show a new body of work which draws on her ongoing research into the food industry. Since 2022, the artist has visited seaside towns and fish markets across the UK to understand the threat that global trade poses to local fishing industries and communities, and the resulting impact on the consumer. A new video work See, See, Sea, 2024 showing a small fishing community in Devon diving for scallops, fishing mackerel, weaving lobster and crab pots and trawling, will form the backdrop to a series of fragile hand-blown glass sculptures and found objects echoing the film’s imagery.  

Huang has a playful approach to materials, often choosing mediums for their contradictory qualities to address concerns about food production and waste. Referencing the general accumulation of waste from food consumerism, sculptures made using food jars and packaging and a crushed supermarket trolley will be scattered across the gallery floor whilst a neon sign suggestive of an upmarket restaurant hangs on the wall. Bronze casts of scallop shells will appear throughout the presentation and delicate casts of figs will be dotted amongst the steel trolley frame. The shells reference waste products of the food industry which are rarely seen by the consumer, while the figs are a reminder of produce left to rot on London’s pavements after falling unharvested from urban fruit trees.  

In a world where packaged produce from across the globe is readily available on supermarket shelves, Huang’s work investigates the increasing disconnection between people and food. The presentation will explore her concern for the impact that the relocation of food markets like Billingsgate and Smithfield will have on Londoners. The artist considers the loss of these unique democratic spaces where commerce and consumer mix, reducing the direct contact people have with their food as well as the rich cultural exchanges that occur under their roofs.  
Since the 1990s, Tate Britain’s Art Now exhibitions have recognised talent at its outset and have provided a launching platform for artists who have gone on to become established figures on the international art scene. Recent exhibitions in the series have showcased the work of artists including Zeinab Saleh, Rhea Dillon, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, and Shawanda Corbett.

Exhibition Opening Times:

  • 12 July 2024 – 5 January 2025
  • Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG
  • Open daily 10.00–18.00
  • Admission free